The applicable PPC Rules for your Distinguished Revolver question are 3.1, 3.4, and as you mentioned, PPC Rule 3.18. Competitors should start with the mindset that handguns used for PPC Distinguished Matches HAVE to be FACTORY and the only changes that can be made are those specificity listed as being allowed in rules.
Replacing the factory Strain Screw with a non-factory screw would be an alteration not listed as allowed in PPC Rule 3.1, or under 3.4, so would be considered an unauthorized external modification and since it effects internal components, an internal modification as well. And as you point out, Rule 3.18 would consider it disallowed as well.
While we are not so naive as to believe that competitors never “adjust” their Strain Screw, any armorer that has been certified by Smith & Wesson has been instructed that once the Strain Screw is fitted to the revolver it is never to be backed off and it is considered a safety issue to back it out.
Again, while we know it is occasionally done, it actually does nothing for actual trigger pull weight, it just takes tension off of the Main Spring which causes lighter primer hits, can lead to misfires, and can cause the main spring to come off the hammer strut, disabling the revolver. The Rebound Spring and Slide are the main components that deal with trigger pull weight. Work on these components and polishing are what create a “crisper and/or smoother trigger pull” as allowed under the rules.
Should a PPC competitor go ahead and change out the Strain Screw as you detail, if a Referee sees the change or receives a complaint from another competitor, the revolver would be prohibited from usage in the match. If the revolver had already been fired in part of a match, all rounds fired before the revolver was pulled would be scored as Zeros. If the entire match had been fired, the competitors score would be recorded as Zero and the competitor Disqualified from that match.
Thanks for the inquiry James and I hope to see you next month at the National Police Shooting Championships in Albuquerque.
Good luck with the X count !
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